Bureau of Firearms

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Welcome to the California DOJ Bureau of Firearms

The Bureau of Firearms serves the people of California through education, regulation, and enforcement actions regarding the manufacture, sales, ownership, safety training, and transfer of firearms. Bureau of Firearms staff will be leaders in providing firearms expertise and information to law enforcement, legislators, and the general public in a comprehensive program to promote legitimate and responsible firearms possession and use by California residents.

Attention

On June 30, 2022, Governor Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill (AB) 1621 (stats. 2022, ch. 76). Among other things, AB 1621 replaces the current Penal Code section 30400. The new Penal Code section 30400, subdivision (a) takes effect immediately and states: “it shall be unlawful for a person to purchase, sell, offer to sell, or transfer ownership of any firearm precursor part in this state that is not a federally regulated firearm precursor part.” In other words, no firearm precursor parts may be legally purchased, sold, offered for sale, or transferred unless such firearm precursor parts meet the definition of a “federally regulated firearm precursor part.”  However, the federal rule defining a “federally regulated firearm precursor part” (Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives Final Rule 2021R-05F, Definition of “Frame or Receiver” and Identification of Firearms) does not take effect until August 24, 2022.

Accordingly, from today through August 23, 2022, the purchase, sale, offer to sell, or transfer of any firearm precursor part (as defined in Pen. Code §16531, subd. (a)) or federally regulated firearm precursor part (as defined in Pen. Code § 16519) is prohibited in California unless one of the exceptions below applies. Also, from today through August 23, 2022, California residents may not import, bring, or transport into California a firearm precursor part that the resident purchases from outside of this state unless an exception in Penal Code section 27585 applies. (Pen. Code §§ 16520, subd. (b)(15), 27585, subd. (a).)

On and after August 24, 2022, the purchase, sale, offer to sell, or transfer of only firearm precursor parts (as defined in Pen. Code §16531, subd. (a)) will be prohibited in California unless one of the exceptions below applies. Also, on and after August 24, 2022, California residents can import, bring, or transport into California only federally regulated firearm precursor parts (as defined in Pen. Code § 16519) that the resident purchases from outside of this state so long as the federally regulated firearm precursor part is delivered to a dealer as described in subdivision (a) of Penal Code section 27585.

The exceptions to the restriction at the new Penal Code section 30400, subdivision (a) are:

  • “[B]y operation of law.” (Penal Code § 30400, subdivision (a).)
  • “The purchase of a firearm precursor part that is not a federally regulated firearm precursor part by a federally licensed firearms manufacturer or importer, or by a federal licensee authorized to serialize firearms.” (Penal Code § 30400, subdivision (b)(1).)
  • “The sale, offer to sell, or transfer of ownership of a firearm precursor part that is not a federally regulated firearm precursor part to a federally licensed firearms manufacturer or importer, or to a federal licensee authorized to serialize firearms.” (Penal Code § 30400, subdivision (b)(2).)
  • “A member of the Armed Forces of the United States or the National Guard, while on duty and acting within the scope and course of employment, or any law enforcement agency or forensic laboratory.” (Penal Code §§ 30400, subdivision (a), and 30420, subdivision (a).)
  • “A common carrier licensed under state law, or a motor carrier, air carrier or carrier affiliated with an air carrier through common controlling interest that is subject to Title 49 of the United States Code, or an authorized agent of any such carrier, when acting in the course and scope of duties incident to the receipt, processing, transportation, or delivery of property.” (Penal Code §§ 30400, subdivision (a), and 30420, subdivision (b).)
  • “An authorized representative of a city, county, city and county, or state or federal government that receives an unserialized firearm precursor part as part of an authorized, voluntary program in which the governmental entity is buying or receiving firearms or firearm precursor parts from private individuals.” (Penal Code §§ 30400, subdivision (a), and 30420, subdivision (c).)

Law Enforcement Release: Electronic Submissions Only

Beginning December 1, 2021, applicants must electronically submit a Law Enforcement Release (LER) application for the return of firearm(s), ammunition, and/or ammunition feeding device(s) via the California Firearms Application Reporting System (CFARS). Applicants that do not already have a CFARS account will be required to create an account in order to directly communicate with the Department and to check the status of an application.

The Department will no longer accept paper LER application (BOF 119) submissions. Paper applications received via US mail, UPS, FedEx., etc., postmarked after November 30, 2021, will be returned unprocessed with instructions on how to submit the application via CFARS.

For additional information regarding the Law Enforcement Release process, please refer to Information on the Law Enforcement Release Program webpage. For more information about CFARS, please visit the Firearms Reporting & Law Enforcement Release Application webpage.

"Other" Assault Weapon Registration

Penal Code section 30900, as amended, required any person who, prior to September 1, 2020, lawfully possessed an assault weapon as defined by Penal Code section 30515 subdivision (a) paragraphs (9), (10), and (11), and was eligible to register an assault weapon as set forth in Penal Code section 30900, subdivision (c), to submit an application to the DOJ to register the firearm before January 1, 2022. The regulations for the Other Assault Weapon Registration are available on the Firearms Regulations/Rulemaking Activities webpage. For more information regarding "Other" Assault Weapons, visit the "Other" Assault Weapon Information page.

Registration is now closed. Any applications, whether submitted electronically or through the mail, should have been submitted during the registration period beginning October 1, 2021 at 9:00 AM PST through December 31, 2021 at 11:59 PM PST. Registration applications received or postmarked after December 31, 2021 will not be accepted.

Please Note: The “Other” assault weapons registration is NOT affiliated with or an extension to previous registrations, including the “SB 23” and “Bullet Button” assault weapons registrations.

UPDATE REGARDING LARGE-CAPACITY MAGAZINES

Any California Firearms Dealership (CFD) licensed pursuant to Penal Code section 26700 may apply for a DOJ Large-Capacity Magazine Permit (LCMP) to engage in the lawful importation and exportation of large-capacity magazines pursuant to Penal Code 32310 and 32315.

A Large-Capacity Magazine Permit allows licensed CFDs to import and export large capacity magazines (ammunition feeding device that have the capacity to accept more than 10 rounds) to and from an out-of-state source.


A CFD only needs a LCMP for the importation and exportation of LCMs. Otherwise, the LCMP is not required for a CFD to possess or sell LCMs.

Please also note that pursuant to California Code of Regulations, title 11, section 5483, a CFD with a LCMP “shall maintain acquisition and disposition transaction records of the importation and exportation of large-capacity magazines.” It is also recommended that CFDs maintain and track the sale of LCMs to authorized persons and entities for ease of reference upon inspection.

For additional information regarding the Large-Capacity Magazine Permit (BOF 050), please refer to the Becoming a Firearm Dealer and/or Ammunition Vendor in California webpage.

Firearms and Ammunition Purchaser Information

Under Penal Code section 28220(f)(4), the Department of Justice (DOJ) has up to 30 days to complete background checks on firearms purchasers. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, DOJ typically completed these checks within Penal Code Section 26815(a)'s 10-day waiting period. COVID-19 protective measures have impacted the ability to increase the personnel resources in the DROS unit to address the recent sustained increase in firearms and ammunition transactions without compromising the health and safety of our employees and the community. As a result, firearms and ammunition dealers and purchasers should know that as DOJ employees continue to perform the statutorily required background checks throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, circumstances may compel that background checks are completed after the expiration of the 10-day waiting period for firearms purchases. DOJ will continue to strive to provide the best service and complete these checks in the shortest time possible.

Law Enforcement Release (LER)

Pursuant to Senate Bill 746 (Stats. 2018, ch. 780), effective July 1, 2020, the Department of Justice (DOJ) is required to regulate the return of ammunition and ammunition feeding devices in the custody of a court or law enforcement agency. All individuals who wish to have the aforementioned items returned, must first receive approval from the DOJ. For more information regarding this process (including submission requirements and fees), please refer to the Law Enforcement Release Program webpage.

Additional Documentation Requirements for Eligibility Checks with Federal Non-Compliant California Driver License or Identification Cards

Effective July 1, 2019, new regulations will be in effect that apply to all eligibility checks. A copy of the applicant’s California driver license, identification card, or out-of-state driver license, if applicable, shall be submitted with the application/report, as specified pursuant to California Code of Regulations, title 11, section 4045.1, subdivisions (d)-(g). If the applicant presents a federal non-compliant California driver license or identification card with the notation "Federal Limits Apply” on the front, additional documentation establishing lawful presence in the United States will also be required (Cal. Code Reg., tit. 11, § 4045.1, subd. (b-c)).

For more information, please refer to the Additional Documentation Requirements for Eligibility Checks with Federal Non-Compliant California Driver License or Identification Cards, pdf.

Ammunition Purchase Authorization Program

Effective July 1, 2019, persons seeking to purchase or transfer ammunition will have to undergo an eligibility check, and be approved by the Department, prior to the sale or transfer, except as otherwise specified. Departmental approval shall occur electronically through a licensed ammunition vendor.

For more information please visit the Ammunition Purchase Authorization Program webpage

DROS Processing Advisory

Please be aware that Department of Justice Bureau of Firearms staff is prohibited by law from discussing an applicant’s criminal record or mental health information over the telephone. Staff also cannot provide legal advice or offer information relating to the various legal steps needed to restore firearms rights. (California Penal Code section 11105 and Welfare and Institutions Code section 8103, subdivision (e)(3).)

What you should do

If your DROS application is Delayed, Undetermined, Rejected, or Denied

Delayed

A DROS application can be delayed for many reasons. Most often it is because the background check found a record matching your personal descriptors (such as your name, date of birth, etc.) and more time is needed to verify that the record is yours and to obtain missing information needed to determine your eligibility to own or possess firearms.

Please be patient and allow the Department enough time to gather additional information and resolve any issues. The Department will notify the firearms dealer to delay the transfer of a firearm to a purchaser if the Department is unable to determine the purchaser’s eligibility within the 10-day waiting period. Many county courthouses are operating on shortened work weeks and with fewer staff, delaying the approval or denial of applications. If the record is an out-of-state or military record, you should anticipate a longer response time from our office to get the needed information. If 30 days has passed since the transaction date and the Department is still unable to determine the purchaser’s eligibility to own/possess firearms or whether the firearm involved in the sale/transfer is stolen, the Department will notify the dealer.

If you believe there is a discrepancy in your eligibility to own/possess firearms, you can obtain a copy of your California record by completing the Request for Live Scan (BOF 8016RR) form located on the Department’s website: http://oag.ca.gov/firearms/forms. You should review the record, identify any incomplete or missing court information, and then follow up with the court where your case was held and request the court submit corrected information to the DOJ's Bureau of Criminal Information and Analysis (BCIA). If you disagree with any information in your record, you should follow the instructions in the letter for disputing inaccuracies. You may wish to obtain an attorney for legal advice and who can best represent your interests on how to restore your rights to buy firearms.

Undetermined

The California Department of Justice (the Department) is authorized by Penal Code section 28220 to temporarily delay a firearm transaction for up to 30 days from the date of transaction when the Department is unable to immediately determine the purchaser's eligibility to own/possess firearms. If 30 days has passed since the transaction date and the Department is still unable to determine the purchaser’s eligibility to own/possess firearms or whether the firearm involved in the sale/transfer is stolen, the Department will notify the dealer. It will then be at the dealer’s sole discretion whether to release to you the firearm.

If you believe there is a discrepancy in your eligibility to own/possess firearms, you can obtain a copy of your California record by completing the Request for Live Scan (BOF 8016RR) form located on the Department’s website: http://oag.ca.gov/firearms/forms. You should review the record, identify any incomplete or missing court information, and then follow up with the court where your case was held and request the court submit corrected information to the DOJ's Bureau of Criminal Information and Analysis (BCIA). If you disagree with any information in your record, you should follow the instructions in the letter for disputing inaccuracies. You may wish to obtain an attorney for legal advice and who can best represent your interests on how to restore your rights to buy firearms.

Rejected

There are two common reasons why a DROS application may be rejected:
(1) you attempted to purchase more than one handgun or semiautomatic centerfire rifle in a 30-day period (California Penal Code section 27540, subdivision (g)); or,
(2) you attempted to purchase a firearm with an invalid, suspended, revoked, or expired California driver’s license or California identification card (California Penal Code sections 16400 and 26815).

In the case of a 30-day handgun or semiautomatic centerfire rifle purchase restriction, you cannot attempt to buy more than one handgun or semiautomatic centerfire rifle in a 30-day period. If one of your transactions was a private-party transfer or pawn redemption, you need to check with the dealer to make sure the correct transaction type was selected when the transaction was submitted to DOJ.

In the case of a Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) rejection, your application was rejected based on information provided to us by the California DMV. You must contact the DMV to make sure your California driver’s license or California identification card information is current and correct.

Denied

If your DROS application is denied, you will receive a letter from the DOJ Bureau of Firearms within two weeks. The letter will explain the reason and instructions on how to get a copy of the record that resulted in the denial of your application. There will also be instructions on how to dispute and correct information in your record you believe is wrong. DOJ staff cannot discuss your record over the telephone. Therefore, it is recommended that you get a copy of your record and follow the instructions for disputing inaccuracies. You may also wish to retain an attorney for legal advice and who can best represent your interests on how to restore your rights to buy firearms.

If your DROS application was denied based on a Federal Brady prohibition (e.g., out-of-state conviction, illegal/unlawful alien, military dishonorable discharge, out-of-state mental health record, etc.), you can appeal the denial of your application directly to the Federal Bureau of Investigation National Instant Criminal History Background Check System (NICS). When discussing your situation with NICS, you must include the NICS Transaction Number (NTN) associated with your firearm purchase as referenced in the denial letter sent to you by the DOJ Bureau of Firearms. You can appeal directly to NICS by downloading the NICS appeal brochure and following the instructions found at NICS Appeals page.

General Information

Assault Weapons, Olympic Pistols, and Destructive Devices

Handgun and Laboratory Certification

Safety Devices, Laboratory Certification, and Gun Safe Standards

Firearms Dealer Information and Tools

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